Katie Brennan indicates today and also Murphy’s credibility gets on the …


Good Tuesday morning!

Today’s the day Katie Brennan testifies before the joint committee investigating the Murphy administration’s hiring practices.

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It’s likely to be gut-wrenching, emotional testimony. And it could also determine the course of the Legislature’s interaction with Murphy for quite a while.

If Brennan’s testimony reflects poorly on the Murphy administration, the coming months will likely be consumed more with subpoenas and territorial fights between the Murphy administration and the Legislature than with raising the minimum wage and legalizing marijuana.

Here’s Ryan Hutchins and Katherine Landergan on what this means for the governor.

WHERE’S MURPHY? In South Orange for a Holocaust remembrance event

HAPPY BIRTHDAY Assemblyman Parker Space

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I don’t see anyone out there at the moment … the man who can beat Trump, or the woman who can beat Trump … You need someone who can speak some of the same language … and the Democrats don’t have an obvious, effective presidential candidate.” — popular musical artist Bruce Springsteen

ALVAREZ SCANDAL — “Phil Murphy’s political career on trial as lawmakers begin hiring investigation,” by The Record’s Charles Stile: “Officially, the special legislative panel meeting Tuesday for a high-drama hearing in Trenton will begin a top-to-bottom look at state employment practices after accusations that Gov. Phil Murphy’s staff failed to confront an allegation of sexual assault. But in reality, Murphy’s political career will be on trial. ‘I respect their process,’ Murphy said Monday, referring to the New Jersey Legislative Select Oversight committee hearing. ‘They’ve got to make sure they don’t get political, they call balls and strikes.’ Yet there is no escaping the political danger Murphy now faces from legislators asking questions about what happened to Katie Brennan, an administration housing official who is expected to testify Tuesday.” Read more here

—“Phil Murphy says he had ‘no idea’ aides reportedly tried to restrict hiring investigation” Read more here

WANNA ESCHEW RESPONSIBILITY — Wanaque, University Hospital are no-shows at Senate hearing on deadly outbreaks, by POLITICO’s Sam Sutton: University Hospital in Newark and the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation declined to send representatives to Monday’s Senate hearing investigating the causes and complications of separate infectious outbreaks that have left 14 children dead. “That troubles the committee. That troubles me as the chairman,” Sen. Joseph Vitale (D-Middlesex) chairman of the Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee, said. “They should have been here today, legal advice aside.” From his seat on the committee, former Gov. Richard Codey (D-Essex) called for subpoenas to be issued to “haul their butts in here.” Read more here

—“5 kids were dead. Yet no one told N.J. health commissioner for nearly 2 weeks” Read more here

—“It felt like we were putting on a show. Ex-employee says nursing home cleaned up its act when state came to visit” Read more here

OK, JUST STAY AWAY FROM THE PENSIONS — “Govs. Florio and Whitman: We’re working together to help tackle N.J.’s water infrastructure woes,” by James J. Florio and Christine Todd Whitman: “The fact of the matter is that no one organization, not even the state government, can tackle our water infrastructure problems alone. Affecting real change will take a suite of solutions and a collaborative effort from public and private utilities; state, county, and local government; businesses and manufacturers; community leaders and stakeholders; and concerned citizens. Every New Jerseyan has a stake in this issue, whether you are a parent pouring your child a glass of water, a firefighter opening a hydrant to save your neighbor’s home, or a manufacturer turning the water valve to cool your machinery. We are proud to co-chair a unique statewide collaborative called Jersey Water Works, which was formed for this exact purpose, and which has taken a strong leadership role in addressing this issue.” Read more here

—“ROI Influencers: Our first-ever People of Color list” Read more here

SHAMNESTY FALLOUT — “Lakewood Medicaid fraud: Amnesty program could trip up nominee for judge,” by The Asbury Park Press’ Stacey Barchenger: “Two members of the Senate committee that vets and votes on judicial nominees say they have tough questions for New Jersey Comptroller Philip J. Degnan about last year’s amnesty program, which recovered less than half of the taxpayer dollars it was supposed to because of discounts offered to participants … State Sen. Nellie Pou, D-Passaic, wants to know how reduced repayment deals could be made without Degnan’s authorization, she said. Degnan has said a rogue employee offered amnesty seekers discounted restitution, at a cost to taxpayers of $2.6 million. But in a lawsuit the employee asserts his supervisors — three of them — knew and one even signed off on the amnesty offer, officially called the Ocean County Recipient Voluntary Disclosure Program.” Read more here

—“NJ Medicaid fraud watchdog-in-chief: Who is state Comptroller Philip Degnan?” Read more here

JOBS — Murphy on Honeywell: Taxes ‘did not come up in one conversation’, by POLITICO’s Ryan Hutchins: Executives at Honeywell never raised the issue of New Jersey’s high taxes in discussions with state officials before deciding to move their corporate headquarters to North Carolina, Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday. “Taxes did not come up in one conversation with them,” Murphy told reporters after an event in Elizabeth. “They said laudable things about the economy we are trying to recapture and rebuild here.” The industrial conglomerate announced Friday it will relocate its headquarters from Morris Plains to Charlotte, N.C., migrating 150 to 200 jobs south just three years after winning a $40 million tax break designed to keep the company in New Jersey. Murphy signed a law this year temporarily raising New Jersey’s corporate tax rate from 9 percent to 11.5 percent — the second-highest business tax in the nation. North Carolina’s corporate tax rate is just 3 percent, said to be the lowest in the nation. Read more here

NOW THAT AMAZON REJECTED NEWARK — “N.J. lawmakers advance bill to ban cashless stores,” by The Philly Inquirer’s Christian Hetrick: “New Jersey lawmakers on Monday advanced a bill that would ban cashless stores in the Garden State. The measure, which can now go before the full state Senate, would require all brick-and-mortar retailers to accept cash, excluding transactions made online, by telephone, or by mail. That would make New Jersey the second state to prohibit retailers from refusing to accept cash and the first since 1978, when Massachusetts passed a law banning cashless stores.” Read more here

PIPELINE — “Construction begins on South Jersey pipeline tied up in court,” by The Press of Atlantic City’s Avalon Zoppo: “As Adam Neuman’s wife left her home for work Monday morning, she texted him a photo: a truck filled with sections of 30-inch pipes driving down the street. The couple lives on Fischer Road in Plumsted Township, Ocean County, where construction on the Southern Reliability Link pipeline is now beginning, despite it being tied up in the state’s appellate court. At issue is whether a portion of the controversial project can be built in the Pinelands, New Jersey’s largest nature reserve. ‘I’d rather have seen the appeals heard before they broke ground,’ said Neuman,” Read more here

R.I.P. — “Joseph Kyrillos, father of longtime Senator, dies” Read more here

—“Barr enters race for Andrzejczak Assembly seat” Read more here

— BPU begins gathering input to develop offshore wind strategic plan Read more here

—“Welle mulls Assembly bid” Read more here

—”Campaign ramps up to let undocumented immigrants drive legally in NJ” Read more here

—“Protection for workers weakened in latest version of the N.J. bill expanding medicinal marijuana” Read more here

—“What will happen to medical marijuana if NJ legalizes weed?” Read more here

—“Don’t ignore the data. Legislators who care about public safety must vote ‘no’ on marijuana” Read more here

—“Assembly bills reflect state’s slow recovery from Superstorm Sandy” Read more here

—“One year, eight new gun-control laws in New Jersey” Read more here

ICE: COLLABORATE AND LISTEN. OR ELSE — “More ICE arrests of immigrants in neighborhoods and workplaces likely coming in New Jersey,” by The Record’s Hannan Adely: “Arrests of immigrants rose 35 percent in New Jersey in 2017, but advocates fear the numbers could increase even further amid new threats from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement of more at-large arrests in neighborhoods and workplaces. ICE said last week that it would conduct more at-large arrests in response to a new directive, issued by state Attorney General Gubrir Grewal, ordering local law enforcement to limit cooperation with the federal agency. ‘As a result of limited cooperation with local and state authorities, ICE will have no choice but to conduct at-large arrests in local neighborhoods and at worksites, which will inevitably result in additional collateral arrests, instead of focusing on arrests at jails and prisons where transfers are safer for ICE officers and the community,’ the agency said in a statement.” Read more here

DEMOCRATS THRILLED THIS IS THE LESSON MORRIS GOP TOOK FROM LAST MONTH’S DRUBBING — “The oddly disappearing Frelinghuysen,” by InsiderNJ’s Fred Snowflack: “The Frelinghuysen name long has been magical in Morris County politics. But as Rodney P. Frelinghuysen’s 24-year stay in Congress is winding down, the magic is vanishing. ‘This is what I’ve been hearing,’ said one Republican source. ‘He had a great 24-plus year run and he blew it all his last year.’ A harsh assessment to be sure, but the sentiment is not unique. Many of the GOP’s rank-and-file are unhappy Frelinghuysen was largely absent from party life and affairs during a time when Republicans lost his 11th District seat to the Democrats. There also is some discontent that Frelinghuysen dropped out of the race so late in the game — about four months before the primary, thereby putting Republican candidates at a huge financial disadvantage.” Read more here

R.I.P. — “Former NJ Gov. Tom Kean on why he’ll miss George H.W. Bush,” by Tom Kean: “All that was evident in George H.W. Bush. But if we simply look back at a hazy and envied past, we will miss the real George Bush. The man I knew was forward-looking and used the past to inform the future. He looked toward a better world for his children and grandchildren. He was the best-prepared president in the nation’s history, and he used all that preparation in making decisions. Think about the preparation of those now thinking of seeking the presidency.” Read more here

—“As one chapter in MacArthur’s life ends, a new chapter for the base begins” Read more here

—“Joint Base breaks ground on $82.5M hangar for KC-46 refueling jets” Read more here

—With ACA enrollment slow, Murphy urges residents to sign up for coverage Read more here

—“Medicare for all? Rep. Frank Pallone says the votes aren’t there” Read more here

LOOKS LIKE WE’RE BACK TO THE STATUS QUO IN ATLANTIC CITY — “FBI, IRS search home of Atlantic City Mayor Frank Gilliam,” by The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Amy S. Rosenberg: “FBI and IRS agents executed a search warrant early Monday at the home of Atlantic City Mayor Frank Gilliam. Doreen Holder, spokeswoman for the FBI’s Newark Office, would not discuss the nature of the search warrant. A half dozen federal agents in blue jackets were in and out of the house for several hours Monday morning, unloading boxes and removing computer equipment during the search … The search comes five days after prosecutors announced that they had decided not to charge Gilliam and Councilman Jeffree Fauntleroy II for their involvement in a Nov. 11 fight outside the Haven nightclub at the Golden Nugget casino. ‘We have no information to give. We have not been briefed,’ said Christina Bevilacqua, Gilliam’s deputy chief of staff. ‘The mayor’s office is open and we are going to continue to provide services to the city’s residents.’” Read more here

—“After FBI raid, AC mayor leaves home” Read more here

—“The FBI raided the Atlantic City mayor’s home. Here’s what the feds have been asking about over the last 10 months.” Read more here

NEWARK LEADS — “A Water Crisis in Newark Brings New Worries,” by The NYT’s Liz Leyden: “As evidence mounted that Newark’s drinking water was contaminated by lead, top officials began an urgent giveaway of tens of thousands of filters and told residents that the problem was limited to one of the city’s two treatment plants. But city documents and other records show that an engineering study that led to the distribution of filters, which was made public in October, only focused on one plant. Now the state is directing Newark to assess whether treatment methods at the second plant are protecting water from being contaminated by lead. Since 2017, samples of tap water taken at residences served by that plant have shown elevated lead levels. The extent of Newark’s water problem is still unfolding. For nearly a year and a half after high lead levels were first discovered in the water system, Mayor Ras Baraka and other officials blamed aging lead pipes, insisting on the city’s website that the water was ‘absolutely safe to drink.’” Read more here

1/9 MASTRO, OR ALMOST 4 YEARS OF DANA REDD’S NEW SALARY — “It’ll cost $1M to tear down failed baseball stadium built with $21M in public funds,” by NJ advance Media’s Bill Duhart: “Add another $16 million to the money pit formerly known as Campbell’s Field on the Camden Waterfront that will soon be demolished. The Camden County Improvement Authority approved a nearly $1 million contract this month to tear down the 17-year-old former ‘Field of Dreams.’ It was built with $21 million in public dollars thrown after a fad of independent minor league baseball stadiums as a draw for foot traffic and economic development. After the demolition, Rutgers-Camden and Camden city are expected to pony up $15 million, $7.5 million apiece, to develop the area into a complex of sports fields for the university’s Division III sports teams and the city recreation department.” Read more here

HUSHSCIORA — “Trenton mayor to blocked critic: ‘Sue me’” by The Trentonian’s Isaac Avilucea: “Mayor Reed Gusciora is under fire for being `thin-skinned‘ after blocking one of his biggest critics on social media — an unconstitutional move that got the POTUS slapped down by a federal judge earlier this year. The ‘infamous’ Michael Ranallo, a Paul Perez supporter who has established himself as one of Mayor Gusciora’s biggest detractors, learned from the city’s response to his public records request that he was the only person on a banned/blocked list preventing him from accessing and interacting with the mayor on a government-related social media page.” Read more here

—“Palisades Park security report: Chief of police neglected checks on armed school guards” Read more here

—“Hoboken city council will vote to adopt ‘placeholder legislation’ while marijuana legalization looms” Read more here

—“Lore named top manager for state courts in Camden County” Read more here

—“Sayreville: Dave McGill selected to replace Ricci Melendez on Borough Council” Read more here

—”’It’s a problem for everybody’: This is what the opioid epidemic looks like in Hudson County” Read more here

—“Lawsuit: Hoboken hotel plan’s $4.85M in community givebacks are ‘a blatant quid pro quo’” Read more here

—“Lakewood SCHI founder heads to trial after judge’s ruling” Read more here

—“Retired cop seeks legal fees from Jersey City after winning court case” Read more here

IMAGINE IF THE ORDER HAD BEEN THIS VIGOROUS AGAINST THE ABUSERS — “Delbarton’s Catholic order takes attorney to court for revealing alleged sex assault victim got 7-figure settlement,” by NJ Advance Media’s Thomas Moriarty: “A New Jersey lawyer is scheduled to stand trial this week in a lawsuit accusing him of telling others generally how much a Catholic order paid an alleged victim of sexual abuse. The Order of St. Benedict claims Gregory Gianforcaro breached a confidentiality clause in a 1988 settlement with the order when he told reporters the Catholic order paid a seven-figure sum to resolve the sexual abuse allegations. Gianforcarlo’s trial was scheduled to begin Monday before Superior Court Judge Rosemary E. Ramsay in Morristown, court records show.” Read more here

—“N.J. amusement park is closing, but you can buy the giant swinging ship for $95K” Read more here

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